Bonsai Air Layering Technique

 Bonsai Air Layering Technique

Bonsai Air Layering Technique

In Bonsai Air Layering is a technique used to create a new tree out of a branch

Air Layering

Air Layer to Shorten The Trunk of this Japanese Elm

or piece of a larger mother tree.  All artists have a slightly different method that they have grown comfortable with.  This is just my method.  Has worked well for me, I have made little adjustments throughout the 15 years in my practice

Air Layering a branch from a desirable tree or bonsai requires the removal of the bark from about an inch.  Remove all the bark and the cambium (the green part) this prevents carbohydrates from flowing down past the removal site, but still allows water and mineral nutrients to flow upward to the leaves through the xylem. Thus, the tree will still get the nutrients it needs.  As a result, a new root system develops on the section where the bark was removed.  Root hormone can be used but is not necessary since hormones are stored at the removal site where roots will grow out.  However root hormone can speed up the process.

What is the purpose of Air Layering a Bonsai

Air layering allows us to create multiple bonsai from one mother plant.  Air laying saves allot of time creating new bonsai which already have a complete root system and a strong trunk.  Using this technique one can avoid waiting 2 years for the bonsai to develop a prominent trunk.

Using a high quality root hormone helps increase success rate.  My personal favorite is Technaflora Root tech I use it for air laying to shorten the time for a new root system to develop.  

After removing the bark and reaching the cambium of the tree apply hormone.  Next secure the bottom with a plastic bag to hold in the growing medium.   I typically use sphagnum moss.  Typically takes 4-6 weeks for the new root system develop.  At that point cut the branch right below the air layer and you now have a new root system.

It is good practice to wait 6-9 weeks so the root system can fully develop before cutting off the trunk of our new tree and planting in it’s new container.